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Offline SlideMeister

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The new Thomann Chromatic
« on: April 16, 2008, 06:15:13 PM »
Judging by the price (and the picture) I believe this to be another relabeled Lark,Swan, Golden Cup, Golden Butterfly, etc, etc etc.  :)
It's a great looking Chrome, but until I hear different, I'd hold off on buying one, unless of course, you're just trying to save some money. Spranklin, and quite a  few others play a Swan and like it as a "second" harmonica.  If you are disillusioned with Hohner, and really want a 16 holer, I'd suggest a Suzuki. They make a great product with a good guarantee.

If the Thomann turns out to be not from that big harmonica factory in Shanghai, and is just ridiculously cheap for some other reason, I'd be interested in one too  :)

Oh yeah, Welcome aboard!  :D

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Offline smojoe

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2008, 07:42:24 PM »
What are you trying to pull. That name obviously stands for 'Thomas Mann'. Nice try
smo-joe

Offline Grizzly

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2008, 07:58:25 PM »
Bob Kolin sez:

"I'm seriously looking to purchase a 16-hole chromatic now, but need some advice. Because of the Hohner price increase, I've been looking at the Suzuki Chromatix 64. But I've also read some posts about others that might be better options to consider, i.e., Hering or the never-before-heard-of-until-yesterday Thoman. http://www.thomann.de/gr/thomann_chromatic_64_mundharmonika.htm

I've pretty much gone sour on Hohner because of my experience and that of another club member who had issues with a brand new Super 64X (reeds sticking; poor customer service). Does anyone have any feedback for me on any of these options other than a Hohner?"


If you look into Thomann a little deeper, their name is on a whole boatload of instruments, not just harmonicas. They even have their name on digeridoos! Generally, these are less expensive instruments than name-brand instruments, which they also sell. This appears to be a big company—at least on the Web.

The Thomann Chromatic 64 is probably what is known as a stencil brand; that is, an instrument made by another manufacturer, with their name "stenciled" on it. I doubt  if Thomann manufactures very much, if anything, with their name on it.

You get what you pay for. €35 is cheap, compared to €155 for a Hohner Super 64. The Thomann has to be the equivalent of a Chinese Swan for that price. Comparing prices at coast2coastmusic.com, harphouse.com or harpdepot.com, or any other on-line seller, might reveal a better deal than buying overseas.

Generally, Hohner has one of the best warranties in the business. I've always had good service from their USA operation. Hering warranty has been abominable, but Best Li'l Harp House (harphouse.com) has been honoring Hering warranties in the USA. Hering reeds have a reputation for failing more frequently than Hohner or Suzuki. I've heard Suzuki's warranty is very good. Partly because Suzuki's reeds are welded onto the reedplates instead of being riveted, they offer a strong warranty on them.

Good luck, and welcome to SlideMeister.

Tom
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 08:01:15 PM by Grizzly »
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Offline SlideMeister

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 09:13:21 PM »
What are you trying to pull. That name obviously stands for 'Thomas Mann'. Nice try


Oooooooookay!  :)
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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 09:19:30 PM »
I'm sure we could get a "SlideMeister 64" made from the same factory if I'd agree to buy a couple hundred of them. There's gotta be thirty different "brands" out there that come from that place (that all look the same)  The only place in that factory where they make anything different is the the coverplate department.  :)

age
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Offline smojoe

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2008, 09:44:21 PM »
Maybe they're from India. If they're from India, I may try one. India could use the business.
smo-joe

Offline darius_engineer

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 10:40:23 PM »
I'm from India and I haven't heard of any manufacturer who makes harmonicas here. Many years ago there was one manufacturer of diatonics but they closed down. The only Chromatic harmonica available very cheap here is a chinese one sold under the brand name "Tower". It costs just $ 2.50 but it has two notes in each hole ionstead of 4 notes (2 draw and 2 blow) in each hole of the standard harmonicas. I have one and it takes a little time to get used to it but the tone is very "tinny".  Of course Hohner is available but at prices which are so high that it would be better if we imported it directly.

Darius

Offline Brendan Power

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2008, 04:32:11 AM »
Thomann are an excellent online German music store much used here in Europe. They have a huge range of great gear at good prices. Some of it is made to their specifications in other countries and given the brand name of Thomann.

The harmonica in questions is almost certainly Chinese, made by the Jiangsu Swan company. Here is a picture of it on their site:
http://www.harmonicas.com.cn/english/openpro.asp?id=323

I have one. Not too bad, and brilliant for the price.

Cheers,

Brendan
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Offline smojoe

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2008, 11:02:46 AM »
Ok, I thought someone was paying around with member Tom Mann's name. This looks like the same deal they have with motor bikes, You buy a whole Sea Land container. (the add says 2.5 dozen = 30). I remember shopping around for small diesel engines. I could get just what I wanted from China. Problem was: the minimum order was ONE container. I didn't need 256 of them.

smo-joe

Offline Grizzly

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 11:18:19 AM »
Directly from Swan, no—unless you fronted for 29 friends. From Thomann, yes—they'll sell you just one. Shipping cost, OTOH ...
 
Note that Thomann also sells Hohner and Hering chromatics.

Tom

« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 11:21:04 AM by Grizzly »
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rskolin

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2008, 05:07:23 PM »

If you look into Thomann a little deeper, their name is on a whole boatload of instruments, not just harmonicas. They even have their name on digeridoos! Generally, these are less expensive instruments than name-brand instruments, which they also sell. This appears to be a big company—at least on the Web.

The Thomann Chromatic 64 is probably what is known as a stencil brand; that is, an instrument made by another manufacturer, with their name "stenciled" on it. I doubt  if Thomann manufactures very much, if anything, with their name on it.

You get what you pay for. €35 is cheap, compared to €155 for a Hohner Super 64. The Thomann has to be the equivalent of a Chinese Swan for that price. Comparing prices at coast2coastmusic.com, harphouse.com or harpdepot.com, or any other on-line seller, might reveal a better deal than buying overseas.

Generally, Hohner has one of the best warranties in the business. I've always had good service from their USA operation. Hering warranty has been abominable, but Best Li'l Harp House (harphouse.com) has been honoring Hering warranties in the USA. Hering reeds have a reputation for failing more frequently than Hohner or Suzuki. I've heard Suzuki's warranty is very good. Partly because Suzuki's reeds are welded onto the reedplates instead of being riveted, they offer a strong warranty on them.

Thanks for the feedback, Grizzly. I've narrowed my search down to either a Hering 5164 or the Hohner Super 64. There's quite a big difference in price, so that may be the kicker for me. By the way, I'm basing a lot of my decision on the Chmel reviews of chromatics that someone forwarded to me (whomever it was, thanks much). http://www.chmel.at/sites/test_overview.htm

Offline Grizzly

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2008, 05:47:24 PM »
Hi, Bob,

If we're talking apples to apples, you might want to consider the Hering 6164, with its over-all covers, like the Hohner Super 64. The difference in price still favors Hering, at around $100, from one seller. The Super 64 has a silverplated mouth plate, which doesn't really explain the cost differential.

There are other differences; the Hering is straight tuned while the Hohner is cross tuned, which may affect the distance the slide travels. The other differences are minor, IMO.

I've not played the Herings, but I understand they're a little brighter in tone. I like my Super 64; it's the only one that's been re-tuned to A=440, a necessity when the piano I play with goes flat. Otherwise, I prefer my CX 12s because they fit my hands better* (among other things).

Let us know what you get!

Tom

*one at a time, anyway :P
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Offline henrymouni

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2008, 03:26:18 AM »
Just to confuse Bob a bit more-
What about the Suzuki 'New' Chromatix SCX - 64?
Seems good value for money and should be fine out of the box.
Brendan?

Twas I who sent you the Franz Chmel info' Bob (at the harmonicaclub).
I don't know how up-to-date it is but it is interesting reading.


Henry (UK). :) :) :)

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2008, 06:39:52 AM »
Don't have a hering 64, but I do have a 7148. Herings are kinda like sports cars, they run higher (os some sound a little bright), and respond like a dream. They seem to beg to be pushed and bent and run hard. When you do, bad stuff happens. Both harps are worth what you pay for them.

Oh yeah, the vaunted durability of the super 64. Chmel apparently replaces reeds by the truckload. It's how hard you play them, and how hard how often.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2008, 06:50:36 AM »
I thinks Franz Chmel has said that it's not so much bending reeds that makes them fail more often for him, but that he plays really LOUD. More flex, more failure?

Tom
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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2008, 05:18:16 PM »
The more you think about it, (well, the more I think about it anyway) bending a note shouldn't have any deleterious effect on a reed. Playing loudly, on the other hand, would certainly cause the reed to swing back and forth fairly violently. I bend just about every note I play in one way or another (shapes actually) but I tend to play quieter than not, and as I recall, the few reeds I've actually blown out were done just as my eyes were bulging and veins were popping out of my neck.

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2008, 08:17:05 AM »
It's how hard you play them, and how hard how often.

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 11:36:11 PM »
By the way, I'm basing a lot of my decision on the Chmel reviews of chromatics that someone forwarded to me (whomever it was, thanks much). http://www.chmel.at/sites/test_overview.htm

Interesting thing about those reviews is that the Suzuki SC64 comes out head and shoulders above the others, except for one issue - the reeds welded to the plates, making reed replacement more difficult.  Chmel does this type of work himself, and frequently.  For those of us who don't, his views on sound, playability, and workmanship are noteworthy.

Offline Danny G

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 05:19:30 PM »
I think the SC 64 is one of the finest harmonicas made.
I wouldn't worry about the welded reeds, they hold up to allot of abuse.
I contacted Os Leguizama at Suzuki when after years of playing I lost a reed in my Magic Garden.
A few days later I had replacement plates.
It takes less than 5 minutes to replace the plates.
I asked that when my original plates were repaired, I wanted them back.
The trade was made.
Suzuki makes a great product and the service is unbelievable.
Danny G

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 05:33:56 PM »
I am holding out for the new Suzuki line--
I emailed Brendan asking for details, but no reply as yet--he is probably staying busy :o
They are probably expensive, but I want the best--sadly :'(
They should be out soon ???
G

Offline John Broecker

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2008, 07:09:21 PM »
Hello, Robbie.


I read the Franz Chmel website that compared the Suzuki Chromatix SCX-64, Suzuki SC-64, Hering 6164 Deluxe, Hering 6164 Deluxe, Seydel Chromatic Deluxe (48 reeds), Hohner Super 64X, and Hohner Super 64.

I interpreted the results of the chart differently than you.

The Hohner Super 64 was first of seven models in 2 of 4 categories ("Functionality" and "Feeling"),
and 1st overall (86.3%).

The Suzuki SC-64 was first in 2 categories ("Technology" and "Feeling"), and second overall (85.9%).

The Hering 5164 was first in one category ("Functionality"), and third overall (84.1%).

The Seydel Chromatic Deluxe was first in one category("Stability"), and fourth overall (81.3%).

The Hering 6164 Deluxe was not a leader in any category, and fifth overall (80.3%).

The Hohner Super 64X was not a leader in any category, and sixth overall (70.3%).

The Suzuki Chromatic SCX-64 was not a leader in any category, and was rated last overall (63.8%).



The Hohner Super 64 earned 276 of a maximum 320 overall points. The Suzuki SC-64 earned 275 overall points.

Hohner's Super 64 was only a fly speck above the SC-64 in the overall total.  This tells us that Franz thinks that the two models are so close that he could not make a conclusive decision between the two.

The Suzuki SC-64 wasn't head and shoulders above the rest in any of the four categories.  The SC-64 tied with the Hohner Super 64 in the "Feeling" category, and was only two fly specks ahead of the Super 64 and Hering 5164 in the "Technology" category.

In Franz's comparisons, Hohner's two 64-reed harps (cumulative 501 points) rated first (Super 64) and sixth (Super 64X) of 7 models. Suzuki's two 64-reed harps (cumulative 479 points) were rated 2nd (SC-64) and last (SCX-64).


John Broecker


« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 07:37:41 PM by John Broecker »
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2008, 09:54:29 PM »
I read Chmel's assessments a few years ago. While his findings on those samples may have value, I would have liked to see him test multiple samples and average them out. It might also have given an indication of consistency and quality control.

I wonder, too, if he chose to play the Hohner Super 64 after his tests, or before. There may be an unintended bias in his findings.

Since these tests were done, Suzuki has redesigned some features of both models that Chmel tested. The SC now has a mouthplate with round holes, and the SCX has a better designed mouthplate. Both are now more rounded as seen in section.

For the SCX, anyway, this would affect some of his findings. The new SCX wouldn't leak as badly, which may affect the consistency of response through all octaves.

I don't remember whether Chmel discusses warranty, but that has changed also. Hohner USA continues to have good customer service. Suzuki is going out of its way, as Danny has reported, to take care of its customers, especially in replacing reeds or reedplates; that's how secure they feel about their welds. Seydel now has a USA representative in Rupert Oysler, and excellent choice. And Hering now has Harp House taking care of their warranty work.

The significant item here, in my opinion, is Suzuki's warranty of its reed welds. This should allay some of Chmel's (and our) misgivings about having to replace reeds.

In sum, these are tests that are in some cases outdated, by someone who didn't test multiple samples (as far as I know), and may have an unintended bias toward his chosen instrument. The comparison tests are generally worthwhile for the time they were done; but it's worth our while to keep up to date on recent changes and developments, including prices.

Tom
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Offline smojoe

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2008, 10:16:08 PM »
Again (as usual) I have the solution. Send me several of EVERYTHING, and I, as master of the universe and all seeing eye of India, shall test them (in between my speeches to the polulace, of course), and within a year or two, I will report my findings. That way, it will be 2009 or 2010 and we will have current 2009-2010 statistics.

Joe LeOne, LeOnly

Offline Brendan Power

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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2008, 01:58:33 AM »
Great to read the postive posts from Danny G and others on the amazing reed life of Suzuki SC and SCX Chromatics and excellent customer support from Os at Suzuki USA.

G asks about the new line of Fabulous chromatics coming out soon. They will be officially released in summer, and I'll be doing a seminar on them at SPAH, showing the special new features and making them available for testing by players.

Suzuki plans to have a three-tier line of chromatics based on features and price: the Fabulous series with custom-made silver-plated brass combs, long slot reeds and other high performance features; a middle line using specially-moulded plastic combs and long-slot reeds; and the current SCX series but with some tweaks. At SPAH I'll also be demonstrating the new Fabulous diatonic harps, with silver plated brass combs and long-slot reeds.

Photos and performance videos of the new models are being made soon. When they are ready I'll post to the list.

Regards,

Brendan
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2008, 07:57:16 AM »
Thanks Brendan!
I am looking forward to the official release.
Gary

ejacob4

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Re: The new Thomann Chromatic
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2008, 08:17:49 AM »
Chmel had been playing, and preferring the super 64 looooong before the tests, which included a 12 hole . . .Seydell that he had JUST gotten his hands on. While I would take the guy seriously, he blows out a lot of reeds, replacing one or two a week as I recall reading in his maintenance section. I figured that's why he goes to screws instead of re-riveting. . . he knows he's going back.

I haven't blown out a reed in the 3 years I've been playing again, between 1 and 4 hours a day, usually 1.5 to 2. His reed failure rate is, to put it mildly, extraordinary.

I read him, and went to Hunter's site,
http://www.hunterharp.com/propage1.html
and a bunch o' other places.

Ed